View this newsletter in your web browser Browse all newsletters
No. 7
I trust we are looking forward to Christmas and the festivities that go along with it. Food, drink and family can bring out the best and worst in any of us! I am looking forward to some time off (although I love my job) and I think my snakes are looking forward to feasting for a few weeks before getting back to work in the New Year. I have just spent a couple of days with Channel 7 - Today Tonight reporter Graeme Butler. Snakes are the news item in question (what else). So watch out for that. I think I will go hide my ego under a rock somewhere!

In this the last newsletter of 2013 I have decided to concentrate on wildlife photography, for several reasons. The first being that I met Monica Iseppi recently on a snake course and her images are just outstanding. The second reason is that we are all bombarded by amazing images on a daily basis. Websites, social media, adverts and packaging bring amazing pictures to our eyes in a way that our ancestors could not imagine. So I thought I would share a few special wildlife mages with you and hope you enjoy them.

Wildlife photography has always fascinated me – as a child it was nature books I was drawn to especially those with engaging colourful images of weird and wonderful creatures. My favourite books are often very visual ones - from a well-thumbed copy of a 1970’s Loch Ness (if only) monster book to my David Attenborough book collection it was often the images that captivated me and encouraged me to read and discover more.

On my recent trip to South Africa it was Dr Tony Phelps encouragement of passive observation that helped me remember that whilst images are important as snap shots, real life observation of wildlife doing what they do is in itself a very rewarding thing - a soul warmer - and a good image can convey that essence, the magic of the moment, the beauty of a species, the wonder of it all.

I hope the following images in some way warm you too.

Merry Christmas from David and Jenny at Animal Ark and hope we all have a fruitful and prosperous 2014 ahead of us.

Poison Dart Frog Dendrobates auratus
I was carer and handler of this magnificent Poison Dart Frog for an Animal Ark studio shoot in the UK with Simon Murrell, an old friend, the photographer.

Image: Simon Murrell.

Bob Tail Lizard Tiliqua rugosa
These two shots sum up an iconic West Australian lizard very well. The open-mouthed posture and startling contrast of the pink mouth with rippling blue tongue - "please don’t hurt me stay away".

Secondly the ground hugging shuffling crawl across a road or pathway - the rough surface and rough scales superbly integrated.

Images: Monica Iseppi.

Olive Python Liasis olivaceus
The magnificent Olive Python, sinuous and sleek - here either basking or hunting in a bush or tree at Karajini.

Image: Monica Iseppi.

Tata Lizard Lophognathus longirostris
An active dragon lizard where hand waving and head bobbing are both forms of communication or display. I think this one is just hanging out waiting for a passing insect.

Image: Monica Iseppi.

Cape Cobra Naja nivea
I took this picture at De Hoop Nature Reserve in South Africa last year. The Cobra was hunting Cape Gerbils literally at my feet. Trying not to move an inch I just angled my camera downwards and pressed the button. When the Cobra realised I was close she hooded up and watched me for 5-10 seconds (it felt longer) before accepting I was no threat and then continuing her hunting.

Image: David Manning.

Night Heron Nyctanassa violacea
I asked Monica to choose an image she likes and she suggested this Night Heron from Florida. Monica says (in great Anglo/Italian) “I like the picture of the heron with the crab because it remembers me the concept of being in the right place at the right time.” Doing wildlife photography it can happen - to wait a wearing entire day lying in ambush hoping for a good shot, or bump into an interesting scene unexpectedly. This latter is my favourite because it gives to me the real feeling of grasping the magical moment.

Image: Monica Iseppi.

Sand Goanna (Monitor) Varanus gouldii
Few reptiles sum up Australia better than the monitor lizard. This one is confidently swaggering around unfazed by the camera.

Image: Monica Iseppi.

School Holidays
If you are around in the school holidays why not come to Yanchep for the day, bring yourself and your kids or even the neighbours' kids to meet me and the creatures at a Summer Holiday Event organised by DPaW - aimed at children but suitable for family groups and anyone really.


Animal in Focus: Western Quoll Dasyurus geoffroii
Also known as the Chuditch.

The Western Quoll is one of 4 species of Quoll in Australia. A further 2 species occur in New Guinea. The Western Quoll used to have a vast range but they are now confined only to southwest Western Australia.

The remnant populations of the Western Quoll now only occur in woodland areas, preferring jarrah, tuart and other eucalypt forests. They utilise dens and an assortment of hollow logs as refuges across their territory in which to rest up during the day. Crepuscular by habit they both scavenge and hunt, largely on the ground, but will also climb for prey.

Very distinctive creatures they are rusty brown in colour with large white spots. These cat-like natives reach the size of a small domestic cat, with an average body length of about 36cm and a tail almost as long at 30cm.

Quolls are carnivorous marsupials, feeding on invertebrates, small mammals, birds, lizards and fruit. Like many Australian marsupials they are short lived with estimated wild lifespan of only 2 to 3 years, rarely surviving in the wild beyond a 4th year. Over 5 years has been reported in captivity when kept as pets. As many as 30 tiny (6mm) young are born - most perish as the female has only 6 teats, so the strongest 6 survive.

Quolls are one of many native Australian mammals that some experts suggest may make good pets, but in WA the keeping of any native (non pest) mammals is outlawed. It’s a shame as the feral domestic cat is partly responsible for their demise and Quolls could be a suitable alternative pet to both cats and dogs, and ensure their survival outside of reserves.

No pet species has ever become extinct. With Quolls in the wild it’s really only a matter of time. If you have been on the Fauna Handling Course you may be interested to know that NAR Native Animal Rescue in Malaga are currently building special pens for a study and breeding programme of these fascinating little native marsupial cat like creatures.

Dates -2014
Snake Handling Course
DPaW approved for Reptile Relocator's Regulation 17 Licence
Friday 3 January 2014 - North Beach, Perth - 5 places left
Friday 17 January 2014 - North Beach, Perth - 2 places left
Friday 7 February 2014 - North Beach, Perth - 5 places left
Friday 7 March 2014 - North Beach, Perth
Friday 4 April 2014 - North Beach, Perth

Fauna Handling Course
Monday 17 February 2014 - NAR, Malaga

Public Events
Do come along and see us. Bring your family or friends as well.
The Animal Ark Roadshow will be attending the following events:

Thursday 16 January 2014
Animal Ark Roadshow
Woodvale Library
10am and 11am
Contact the library to book.

Sunday 19 January 2014
Wonders of the Wildlife Ark for Nearer to Nature, DPaW
Yanchep National Park
11.15am and 12.45pm
Contact Nearer to Nature to book.

Saturday 5 April 2014
Animal Ark Roadshow
Altone Comes Alive!
Altone Park Leisure Centre, Beechboro
11am - 4pm

See our diary for more dates or contact us to book.

Call (08) 9243 3044 or email David or Jenny at to book.

Courses held monthly plus on-site and remote site training available.